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This paper describes trends in economic growth and it’s causes in several Latin American countries in the 20th century. This paper stresses that the proximate causes of economic growth are not independent of the ultimate causes of growth. Proximate causes of economic growth are those areas of causality where models and quantification is possible. Ultimate causes of economic growth are much more difficult to quantify. The paper concludes with a description of some of the most important characteristics of economic development in the region.